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Scandal-Ridden Activist Group Lives on in the Form of “Bullet Proof Community-Organizing Frankensteins” Created Across the Country

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released “The Rebranding of ACORN,” a special report on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) network, following an extensive investigation of the organization’s transformation into various “spinoffs” and affiliated organizations.

The ACORN-affiliated groups existing today are ACORN in all but name. These groups tend to occupy ACORN’s former offices, are staffed in many cases with former ACORN employees, and remain committed to ACORN’s mission. Judicial Watch has documented 17 ACORN-affiliated organizations in the following states/regions:  Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New England, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Among the conclusions of Judicial Watch’s special report:

  • ACORN lives on in the form of numerous state entities and in such affiliated organizations as Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA), The Advance Group, The Black Institute, and Project Vote.  In the words of Bertha Lewis, former chief executive officer of ACORN, “… these entities are carrying on ACORN’s work of organizing low- and moderate-income folks…  [We have created] bullet-proof community-organizing Frankensteins that they’re going to have a very hard time attacking.”
  • Tens of millions of dollars in ACORN’s funds and other assets are still unaccounted for.  The Louisiana attorney general’s office and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, as well as Judicial Watch, continue to investigate what happened to these missing resources.
  • Judicial Watch discovered that the Obama administration continues to bankroll ACORN and its affiliates in defiance of the federal government’s funding ban.  For example, on March 1, 2011, ACORN Housing Corporation ─ renamed Affordable Housing Centers of America (though it retained the same headquarters and many of the ACORN officers) ─ received a $79,819 grant from the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • ACORN’s Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, remains active in trying to register a “Food Stamp Army” of voters on public assistance to re-elect Obama and other leftist candidates.  In Colorado, for instance, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving that ACORN/Project Vote successfully pressured Colorado officials into implementing new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons.  After the policy changes, the percentage of fraudulent voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was  four times the national average.  Evidence suggests the Obama Justice Department might be partnering with Project Vote in this campaign.

At its peak, ACORN had over 400,000 members and 1,200 chapters in more 100 cities.  Linked to serious scandals involving misuse of taxpayer funds, embezzlement, intimidation tactics, employee abuse, questionable hiring tactics, and fraudulent voter registrations, ACORN’s corrupt activities finally caught the attention of the American public and members of Congress, the final blow coming after explosive journalist videos were released showing ACORN employees advising undercover reporters on how to evade taxes, as well as immigration, housing, and child prostitution laws.

After the videos “went viral,” in October 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Defund ACORN Act which effectively prohibited the federal government from funding “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate.”  ACORN subsequently filed for bankruptcy on November 2, 2010.   Long before its bankruptcy filing, however, ACORN’s leadership implemented a plan to ensure the survival of ACORN as independent state corporations and affiliated organizations.  The Judicial Watch report provides details on the individual organizations and their officers.

“As this report clearly shows, rumors of ACORN’s demise are vastly overstated.  The ACORN network, especially its partner in crime Project Vote, is alive and well and operating across the country,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.  “The Obama, administration, sure enough, has begun funding the ACORN housing group in violation of the law.  We fear a taxpayer-funded repeat of the ACORN/Project Vote voter registration scandal in 2012.”

Barack Obama served as the Illinois executive director of the ACORN partner Project Vote in 1992. His campaign paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN organization to help “get out the vote” in his successful primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008.  In November 2007, then-Senator Obama addressed ACORN and thanked the organization for its work: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”

“Barack Obama is truly ‘the president from ACORN,’” added Tom Fitton.

To review the comprehensive report by Judicial Watch entitled “The Rebranding of ACORN,” please visit www.judicialwatch.org

 

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“As a whole, these legislative initiatives mirror federal objectives and further a legitimate state goal.”

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — August 30, 2011

Today, August 30, 2011, Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha will testify before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee on the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package. This legislation is designed to address the illegal immigration crisis by shutting down public benefits, employment access and other economic incentives that draw illegal aliens to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Majority Chairman is Representative Daryl Metcalfe. The Committee Minority Chairman is Babette Josephs. The hearings will take place today at 1 p.m. and on Wednesday at 9:30 am. To view the proceedings live, log on to RepMetcalfe.com beginning at 12:55 p.m. today afternoon and at 9:25 a.m. on Wednesday morning.Mr. Bekesha’s testimony will take place:
  • Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
  • Time: 2:50 – 3:10 PM ET
  • Location: Room 140, Main Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

Judicial Watch is engaged in nationwide fight to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and currently represents Arizona State Legislature in the Obama administration’s legal assault on SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration law. With his testimony today Mr. Bekesha will argue that the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package is completely consistent with federal law and lawfully addresses the illegal immigration crisis:

[t]he “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package could not be clearer. Its intended purpose is to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania from the adverse effects of illegal immigration. As a whole, these legislative initiatives mirror federal objectives and further a legitimate state goal. They ensure compliance with federal law and attempt to curb the effects of the estimated 140,000 illegal aliens and to decrease the approximate $1.4 billion yearly costs associated to healthcare, education, incarceration, and other expenses for illegal aliens.

Click here to read Mr. Bekesha’s prepared testimony in full.

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — August 30, 2011

Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that on August 22, 2011, it filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit defending the State of Georgia’s immigration law, known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (IIREA). The case is on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, which enjoined Sections 7 and 8 of the new law, ruling that these provisions were preempted by federal law (Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, et al., vs. Nathan Deal, et al. (No. 11-13044-C)).
Section 7 of Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 prohibits three types of violations by persons who have previously committed a separate criminal offense: 1) knowingly and intentionally transporting or moving an illegal alien to further the illegal’s stay in Georgia; 2) knowingly concealing, harboring, or shielding an illegal alien from detection in Georgia; and 3) inducing, enticing, or assisting an illegal alien to enter into Georgia.Section 8 of the law authorizes a peace officer (local law enforcement) to verify the immigration status of any suspect the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a criminal violation. If the suspect is determined to be an illegal alien, the officer may detain and arrest the subject if doing so authorized by Georgia and federal law.According to Judicial Watch’s amicus brief, the District Court erred in its June 27, 2011 decision. The IIREA is consistent with federal law, the “historic police powers of the States,” and is supported by well-established court precedent:

In sum, rather than regulating immigration, the State of Georgia has merely invoked its well-established police power and codified the inherent, well-established investigatory powers of state and local police officers. Moreover, in doing so, it relied entirely on federal immigration standards and the federal government’s determination of whether a person is lawfully present in the United States.

“The State of Georgia has the legal right and constitutional authority to protect its citizens against crimes associated with illegal immigration,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Georgia’s new law gives Georgia law enforcement modest new tools to combat sex trafficking, the drug trade, black-market labor, and gang violence. The Obama administration’s refusal to enforce our immigration law is a crisis and has forced the hand of states such as Georgia. We have a president who has not only failed to address the illegal immigration crisis at the federal level, but actively attacks states for merely trying to protect their citizens. We hope the appellate court pushes back against the Obama administration’s dangerous contempt for the rule of law.”Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of supporting the efforts of states to enforce laws against illegal immigration. Judicial Watch is representing the Arizona State Legislature and Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce against a Justice Department legal challenge of Arizona’s SB 1070.

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m. EDT

This Judicial Watch educational panel discussion will address concerns about whether corruption and voter fraud change the outcome of elections in America. Our expert panel will examine issues related to voter fraud, such as recent controversies concerning ACORN fraudulent voter registrations, state efforts to reduce voter fraud, and failures by the Justice Department to protect the integrity of elections.

Moderator

Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch

Featured speakers:

John Fund, a senior editor of The American Spectator; author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy and the upcoming The Threat of Voter Fraud to Free and Fair Elections

J. Christian Adams, Former Department of Justice Attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division

Catherine Engelbrecht, Founder of King Street Patriots and Founder of True the Vote

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2:00 p.m. — 3:30 p.m. EDT

The event is free of charge and open to the press and the public.

A mult box will be available.

Location:

Judicial Watch Headquarters
Main Conference Room
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20024
(One block south from the Federal Center SW Metro station on the Orange/Blue lines)
Click for Map and Directions

Go to https://www.judicialwatch.org/live to watch live at 2 p.m. EDT.

If you miss the live broadcast, a recording will be available soon after the event is concluded.


Legislative “power grab” has “overstepped the Commerce Clause’s boundaries…”

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Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — May 24, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (Susan Seven-Sky, et al. v. Eric Holder, Jr. et al. (No. 11-5047)). The lawsuit is currently on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Judicial Watch’s brief challenges the constitutionality of the law’s “Requirement to Maintain Minimal Essential Coverage,” or the “individual mandate,” which forces citizens to purchase health care insurance or remit a “shared responsibility payment” to the government.As Judicial Watch notes, the key question for the court is whether an individual who does not purchase health insurance has performed an “activity” that can be regulated by Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

…the Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause jurisprudence requires that Congress regulate an activity, as opposed to not engaging in an activity…. Common sense alone compels the conclusion that an individual who does not purchase health insurance has not taken an action or exerted effort. The individual does not even need to take a “mental action.” The individual does not need to make a decision not to purchase health insurance; the individual simply will not purchase health insurance.Since Congress has regulated this passivity, Congress has overstepped the Commerce Clause’sboundaries in attempting to regulate Appellants. Indeed, it seems that Congress has put the cart before the horse. In an effort to regulate Appellants, Congress is attempting to compel them into action through the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Recognizing the “weak underpinnings” of its conclusion that those who do nothing are performing an activity, the lower court attempted to bolster its argument by reasoning that Congress can regulate individuals today because someday everyone will seek medical treatment and this will have an effect on interstate commerce. However, as Judicial Watch noted, in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), the Supreme Court dismissed this approach as “pil[ing] inference upon inference.” The Supreme Court reasoned, “If we were to accept [such] arguments we are hard pressed to posit any activity by an individual that Congress is without power to regulate.”“Obamacare represents an unprecedented government power grab. And if Obamacare is allowed to remain the law of the land, the federal government’s ability to run our lives will be virtually unlimited,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Obamacare is seen by many a fundamental threat to our nation’s constitutional order. We hope this court abides by the plain meaning of the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent and rules Obamacare unconstitutional.”As Judicial Watch noted in its brief, by current count, at least 20 lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, with the “individual mandate” representing the main point of contention. Two courts have ruled this mandate unconstitutional, while three other federal courts, including the lower court in this case, have upheld the constitutionality of the mandate.

Topics to Include White House Visitor Logs and Lobbyists

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — May 2, 2011

On Tuesday, May 3, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton will provide testimony to the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. The hearing, entitled “White House Transparency, Visitor Logs and Lobbyists,” will examine issues concerning the release of White House visitor records.
The Chairman of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Ranking Minority Member is Diana DeGette (D-CO).To view the proceedings Tuesday live online, click here:

  • When: Tuesday, May 3
    10:30 AM ET
  • Where: Rayburn House Office Building
    Room 2123

As background to tomorrow’s testimony, it was Judicial Watch that successfully forced the release of White House visitor logs related to visits by former lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff to the Bush White House in 2006. Judicial Watch continued its aggressive pursuit of these logs with the Obama administration. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Obama Secret Service, which lawlessly claimed these records were not agency records subject to timely public disclosure. Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit, which is ongoing.Tens of thousands of visitor logs continue to be withheld, and a report by the Center for Public Integrity suggests that the records that have been released are “riddled with holes.” Other reports detail that White House officials have met with lobbyists “off campus” to avoid disclosing lobbyists contacts through White House visitor logs.UPDATE: Tom Fitton’s opening statement.

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — March 29, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced it will host a panel discussion: “Politics and the Holder Justice Department: Rule of Law at Risk?” Panelists include Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Debra Burlingame, Co-Founder of Keep America Safe; and Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.The panel will address concerns about politicization and ideology at the Holder Justice Department as it relates to civil rights enforcement, national security and terrorism, and the refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.The panel will also be streamed live, and a recorded copy of will be available soon afterward.

  • Date: Thursday, March 31
  • Time: 11 AM – 12:30 PM ET
  • *Location: Main Conference Room
    Judicial Watch
    425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
    Washington, DC 20024

Confirmed Panelists:

Hans von Spakovsky
Senior Legal Fellow
The Heritage FoundationAustin Nimocks
Senior Legal Counsel
Alliance Defense FundDebra Burlingame
Board Member of World Trade Center Memorial Foundation
Co-Founder of Keep America Safe

Moderator:

Tom Fitton
President
Judicial WatchThe event is free of charge and open to the press and the public. A mult box will be available.*(Across from NASA headquarters, near the Southwest Federal Center Metro station; click for map and directions)

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — March 17, 2011

Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha will provide testimony to the Pennsylvania State Government Committee on Voter Fraud regarding two pending bills, HB 934 and HB 647.He will, on behalf of the government watchdog Judicial Watch, focus on voter fraud and how Pennsylvania is attempting to prevent it from occurring during future elections. According to Judicial Watch’s ongoing investigation, ACORN and its various affiliates (most notably Project Vote) have been implicated in at least 35 well-documented election fraud schemes in 17 states.
At last count, approximately 27 states around the country are in the process of passing or have just enacted new laws to prevent voter fraud in the future. As the Supreme Court (Purcell v. Gonzalez, 549 U.S. 1, 4 (2006)) has stated:

Confidence in the integrity of our electoral processes is essential to the functioning of our participatory democracy. Voter fraud drives honest citizens out of the democratic process and breeds distrust of our government. Voters who fear their legitimate votes will be outweighed by fraudulent ones will feel disenfranchised.

The two pending bills seek to require voters to present photo identification before voting. The Supreme Court as well as other courts around the county have held that such a requirement is constitutional and an effective way to safeguard voter confidence and protect the integrity of the electoral process.

  • When: Monday, March 21, 2011
    12:45 PM ET
  • Where: Irvis Office Building
    Room G-50
    Harrisburg, PA

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